In the dark, cold, exam-filled winter of 2005/2006 I huddled in the UBC Farm Centre kitchen, surrounded by grafting knives, tape, bundles of unlikely looking twiggy things and mugs of hot tea. Keen students and volunteers joined me, and thus began the UBC Farm Heritage Orchard!
We grafted 155 trees, including 60 different apple cultivars – over 50% of which originated between 1600-1899 A.D. (Very very old. Very very cool).
I held my breath through till the spring when, miraculously, the buds on the unlikely little twiggy things (which were stored in pots in an outdoor shelter) began to break… Bright green leaves, which unfurled into perfect little flags of life. We cared for them over the summer, planted them into the UBC Farm soil in the rainy fall of 2006, established irrigation and trellising, pruned them, trained them, talked to them (at least I did) and weeded them. And now, nearly three years later, we are harvesting gorgeous fruits from these un-twig-like, lovely trees. I fully admit my bias – but I think they are ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!
AND NOW FOR THE EVENTS!! This weekend the UBC Farm is participating in the UBC Botanical Garden’s AppleFest, Oct 17-18. AND!!! On Saturday October 17 – you are cordially invited to join me (Sarah Belanger) on one of three tours of the UBC Farm Heritage Orchard: 10am, 12pm, 2pm. We will meet at the UBC Farm gates and, though it may rain, it will be a lovely time. A great outing for those interested in apple production and culture! For a little more info, please check out the UBC Farm Website.